Read Judgment: Satya Dev Bhagaur & Ors. vs. The State of Rajasthan & Ors. 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, February 18, 2022: The Supreme Court has recently held that the policy of the State of Rajasthan to restrict the benefit of bonus marks only to such employees who have worked under different organizations in the State of Rajasthan and to employees working under the NHM/NRHM schemes in the State of Rajasthan, cannot be said to be arbitrary. 

A Division Bench of Justice B.R Gavai and Justice L. Nageswara Rao observed that this court would not interfere with the policy decision when a State is in a position to point out that there is intelligible differentia in application of policy and that such intelligible differentia has a nexus with the object sought to be achieved. 

Going by the background of the case, the State of Rajasthan has framed Rajasthan Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathy and Naturopathy Services (Amendment) Rules, 2013. The respondent – State of Rajasthan accordingly issued a notification dated May 30, 2018, thereby providing that such of the candidate who had worked under the Government, Chief Minister BPL Life Saving Fund, NRHM Medicare Relief Society, AIDS Control Society, National TB Control Program, Jhalawar Hospital and Medical College Society, Samekit Rog Nirgrani Pariyojna or State Institute of Health Family Welfare (SIHFW), would be entitled to bonus marks as per the experience attained. 

For 1 year of experience, the bonus marks will be 10, for 2 years of experience the bonus marks will be 20 and for 3 years of experience it will be 30. The advertisement also provided that only such of the candidates who were having experience certificate from the competent authority as mentioned in the said advertisement would be entitled to the bonus marks.

Satya Dev Bhagaur & Others (Appellants), who have the experience of working under the NRHM scheme on contract basis in different States, approached the High Court seeking a direction to the respondent State to accept the experience certificate of the petitioners which was issued by the NRHM authorities of different States, so as to qualify them for getting the bonus marks. 

The Single Judge directed the State of Rajasthan to grant bonus marks to the appellants who had worked under the NHM/NRHM schemes in different states. On appeal, the Division Bench held that the intention of the State of Rajasthan was to confine the benefit of award of bonus marks to those employed in the schemes within the State of Rajasthan and not in other States. 

After considering the submissions, the Top Court found that the policy of the State of Rajasthan is that while selecting Nurse Compounder Junior Grade, the bonus marks are to be given to such employees who have done similar work under the State Government and under the various schemes.

It is trite that the Courts would be slow in interfering in the policy matters, unless the policy is found to be palpably discriminatory and arbitrary, added the Court. 

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Gavai concurred with the decision of the Division Bench of the High Court of Rajasthan in Jagdish Prasad and Others vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors (D.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 12942/2015, dated Feb 09, 2016), wherein it was clearly held that the experienced candidates in other States cannot be compared with the candidates working in the State of Rajasthan, as every State has its own problems and issues and the persons trained to meet such circumstances, stand on a different pedestal. 

Hence, the Apex Court confirmed the order of the High Court and dismissed the appeal. 

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